"She is a completely hollow woman," Camille Paglia said, reflecting on Hillary Clinton's disastrous bid for the presidency six months after the former secretary of state fell to Donald Trump.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, Paglia, who voted for Jill Stein in November, recalled red flags from the earliest days of Clinton's candidacy, pointing to her dependence upon artificial policy positions carefully manufactured in Brooklyn with the help of polls and focus groups.
"Hillary, when she first declared that she was a candidate," the bestselling author explained, "they asked her about her policies... and she refused to answer."
"They had to poll for her to find out what her policies were," said Paglia, delineating Clinton's failures with a detectable air of exasperation. "She was waiting for all her people to sift through polling data. They had to poll for her to find out what her policies were."
"That, for me, confirmed my complete lack of respect for her," Paglia revealed. "That there was such a gap in time between when she declared her candidacy and when she would answer one single policy question."
Clinton's discomfort with authenticity was clear in her relationship with the media, Paglia argued. "She never had a press conference, she's incapable of doing it."
The author of Free Men, Free Women, specifically looked back on one press conference Clinton did hold, her memorable back and forth with reporters at the United Nations in March of 2015. "She comes out and she's shrugging," Paglia remembered, "And she wasn't looking at a single reporter... She was deliberately looking over the heads of the reporters."
To Paglia, if a Republican had conducted themselves that way, the media would have eagerly highlighted "how crazy" it was. Instead, as she sees it, the press is "complicit."
Trump, on the other hand, according to the professor, who teaches media studies at the University of the Arts, is "a master of media."
"His mastery of media, his sense of media," Paglia contended, gave him an advantage over Clinton "and all those snobbish people…allowing him to communicate with people in a way" that the Democrats simply could not.
Trump speaks right past "the layers of insulation" that keep other politicians looking withdrawn, Paglia contended, attributing the president's popularity with many Americans outside of New York and Washington to his communications style.
"I think people are connecting with it," she said, "and the media is completely missing it."
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.